There’s been a few recent author meltdowns online that have people gasping about how unprofessional it is to snap at a bad review, or to act belligerent in an online discussion. The most recent meltdown happened on Twitter, during which a writer posted a reviewer’s contact information to organize a literary lynch mob. Yes, it’s just terrible, but really, this shit ain’t nothing new.
All throughout history, the correspondence of famous writers has shown their scorn for the ignorance and the audacity of some reviewers. Their letters have shown their fiery tempers on any number of topics. All that’s changed now is that you’re viewing their letters in real time on the Internet. This public venue empowers the readers to respond, so even if a post isn’t directed at you, you now feel an obligation to comment on the behavior of other people.
Which is sad, because you act like ranting writers are a new trend that just cropped up, and that isn’t the case. Pick most any famous writer; Ellison, Hemingway, Poe, Twain, Wilde; they’re all famous for their sharp tongues as well as their stories.
You complain how it’s not professional to rant. Yeah, fucking right! Maybe it’s not something you can get away with with your boss, but this is the writing world. Whether you know it or not, there is a history, nay a tradition of writers ranting. The difference is, in this electronic age, you see the correspondence as soon as it’s written. You view the letters of older writers through a historical lens, and you forgive them for the exact same shitty behavior.
While we’re on the topic, the calm composed posts on most writers’ blogs are part of an act. It’s the mask they wear in an effort to beg more people to read their stuff. They know that they need to be nice to readers, and damn it, they try not to bitch too much. But the mask slips sometimes, and then gasp, you find out that writers are human beings too.
But not one of you people is fit to judge, because you lose control too. The difference is, not being a celebrity, nobody makes a big fucking deal out of you acting stupid for a few minutes at a time.
Ranting comes with the job, people. So fucking deal with it, and stop calling it unprofessional for a writer to rant. Ranting is the first refuge of a frazzled writer, and it is the true mark of professional writing behavior.
Hey, if it worked for Twain and Poe, it’s fucking good enough for me, bitches.